SINGAPORE (AFP) - From Pakistan to Sri Lanka and southern Thailand, people are dying in Asia's numerous conflict zones - but progress in resolving the unrest is unlikely at Asia's main security meet next week, observers say. Ministers and top officials from Asia, Europe and the United States gather in Singapore on July 24 for the annual Asean Regional Forum (ARF), the principal official forum for security dialogue in Asia. The gathering, the culmination of meetings by Southeast Asian foreign ministers and officials beginning this Thursday, includes nations with some of Asia's most worrying and intractable security problems. But analysts say that while the ARF might discuss some of these deadly and, in some cases, escalating conflicts, little action will be forthcoming. "They discuss everything under the sun... That's all it is. It's a talk shop," said Carl Thayer of the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre at the Australian National University. "It's a virtual organisation. It comes together once a year and then disappears," he said. The group of 27-member nations has no history of active involvement in the region's troubles, said Damien Kingsbury of Australia's Deakin University. "It's really done very little in a substantive sense," said Kingsbury, from the school of international and political studies. "I think the real purpose of the ARF is... for the countries of the region to be able to assure each other that they don't pose a threat to each other." The ARF "haven't really gone beyond the agenda of confidence building" among members, said Mely Caballero-Anthony of the S Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore. US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is set to attend the forum amid concern in Washington about militants in Pakistan's tribal areas and their attacks on foreign troops across the border in Afghanistan. But it's not just Pakistan and Afghanistan where concerns are mounting. Fighting has worsened this year in Sri Lanka, another AFR member, after the government withdrew from a ceasefire with Tamil Tiger rebels, who are believed to source weapons from a number of Southeast Asian nations. Sri Lanka said it hopes to glean intelligence on Tamil Tiger activities at the Singapore talks, while also briefing member nations on political developments inside its country. In southern Thailand, beheadings, live burnings and torture have become a common feature of violence, a US rights group reported. More than 3,300 people have died since unrest broke out in the region along the border with Malaysia four years ago. While members will clarify some of the issues about their conflicts, the group cannot be expected to resolve them, said Rodolfo Severino, a former secretary-general of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean). "It's not built for that," Severino said, noting that some members have "clashing interests". China, another member, will not discuss security issues on Tibet and elsewhere in the country, despite global concern over Beijing's crackdown in March on unrest in the predominantly Buddhist Himalayan region. "This platform should not be used to discuss the internal affairs of the countries," Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said when asked if such matters would be talked about. The core of ARF are the 10 Asean members, and that is part of the problem, analysts say. "These 10 countries are not heavyweights in the region," said Thayer of the Australian National University. "The ARF is guided by the Asean principles and one of the Asean principles is non-interference in the affairs of another country." Asked what would be on next week's agenda, an Asean official said ministers "will exchange views on regional and international political and security issues of common interest and concern." The official said disaster preparedness may also be a key issue following natural calamities in the region this year, including a devastating cyclone in Myanmar and earthquake in southwestern China. But despite the criticism of ARF, observers say that even if all they do is talk, the group still has some value. "Confidence building has taken the edge off certain tensions, perhaps," said Thayer. "The ARF does no harm."